Tax Management NZ (TMNZ) is working with New Zealand charities to ensure a portion of the near- $232 million in unclaimed donation rebates can go back to charity.
The Auckland-based tax pooling intermediary’s chief executive Chris Cunniffe says a recent study by Philanthropy New Zealand estimates that individual New Zealanders donated roughly $1.373 billion to charity for the year ended June 2014.
However, Inland Revenue (IRD) data shows that a 33.33 percent donation rebate was only claimed on $678.2 million of that amount for the year ended March 2014 - meaning no rebate was sought on an estimated $694.8 million.
"That’s $231.6 million which could go back to the donor or re-donated to charity," says Cunniffe.
TMNZ has partnered with Women’s Refuge and the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand to process the donation rebates on behalf of those who give to those organisations.
Discussions are also being held with other large charities about processing rebates.
"We hope this will help more Kiwis claim the rebates they are entitled to and increase their generosity so even more money for the charitable organisations they care about can be raised," says Cunniffe.
Figures compiled by IRD show the number of people claiming a donation rebate has fallen from around 406,000 in 2008 to around 369,500 in 2014.
Cunniffe believes many rebates go unclaimed because of the hassle of having to hold tax receipts or fill out forms. Others may not know they are entitled to a rebate.
TMNZ’s belief in giving back to the community is what encouraged the company to start processing donation rebates on taxpayers’ behalf.
Donation rebate explained
New Zealand taxpayers can claim a rebate from IRD of 33.33 percent on donations of $5 or more, provided they have a receipt and taxable income in the tax year in which the donation was made.
Rebates can be claimed for donations made to charity, state-run schools and religious organisations and for a period of four years following the year in which the donation was made.